Our history.

Supporting Australians with low vision or blindness since 1957.
A yellow labrador Guide Dog in harness sitting flat on the ground looking at the camera. The Sydney Harbour bridge is in the background.

Our story

In 1950, Dr. Arnold Cook arrived in Australia with the country’s first Guide Dog.

A young West Australian, Arnold lost his sight at the age of 18 through a rare disease.

Arnold became familiar with Guide Dogs after travelling to England to study at the London School of Economics. He trained at Britain’s Guide Dog Association and was paired with a black Labrador named Dreana.

A 1940's black and white image of two people outside a Guide Dog Training Centre. One of the people in kneeling down next to a yellow labrador Guide Dog in harness and the other is holding a yellow ten week old labrador puppy. Both dogs and people are looking at the camera.

Early beginnings

Arnold and Dreana created enormous interest upon their return to Australia.

Unsurprisingly, many other West Australians with low vision or blindness were eager to partner with a Guide Dog, and a year later the first Guide Dog Association was formed in Perth.

By 1957 there were Guide Dogs Associations in each state.

Guide Dogs Australia today

National presence, local support.

Today, Guide Dogs Australia oversees state and territory-based organisations, delivering essential services to children, teenagers, adults, and older Australians who are blind or have low vision in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, and the Northern Territory.

For more information, contact your nearest Guide Dogs Centre.